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Why Does a Squat Press Feel Lighter Than a Leg Press?

Q: Why does a Plate Loaded Squat Press feel lighter than a Leg Press?

A: Because they are different!

The Squat Press is a variable resistance piece.  At the starting height, the resistance is equal to about 70% of what you load, plus 80 lbs. When the main arm is parallel to the ground, you are at about 100% (please note your capability goes up more than that).

A traditional linear Leg Press differs. At a 45 degree angle, the load is effectively 70% of what you load, plus the weight of the sled (about 100 lbs.).

So the difference comes from variable resistance. The same load that would have you max out at the bottom would feel progressively lighter as the legs extend on the Leg Press because your mechanical advantage is increasing. The Squat Press would feel more consistent as the legs extend because the loading is increasing.

In reality, we don’t start at the bottom. On the linear Leg Press, the same weight at the end of the range of motion (ROM) will feel progressively heavier as you lose mechanical advantage. The Squat Press is more consistent, therefore you do not feel it getting heavier. The goal of the Squat Press is to better match the leverage and capability of the body. A better match feels lighter. 

Now, both are excellent training tools. While the Squat Press may match the body’s capabilities, a linear Leg Press may better match reality. 

- Steve Suchanek
Director, Product Management

Do you have an equipment question for Team Cybex? Email social@cybexintl.com or leave it in the comment section below.

Maximize your workouts with the Cybex Research Institute. Learn more about lunges (should you keep your knee behind your toe?) and the importance of watts

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